The last couple of weeks I’ve done a little “looking back”. I was given an opportunity to consider going back to a previous time in life. It would have meant leaving everything I have worked for here, the friends I’ve made, the plans I have in the works, and turning my back on what I’ve learned (so to speak). For so many months I prayed for a change, for a way out. I didn’t think I could be here anymore. I was ready to move on, to do something different. And then Heavenly Father sent me some INCREDIBLE friends!!They made my life worth living again. They helped me find joy again. They helped me move forward. I needed that so badly. And as it turned out, it was the lessons from these friends that helped me realize that even with this opportunity, going back isn’t the answer, moving forward is. So even though I thought I wanted to go back, it turns out that what I REALLY want is to stay right here.
The second thing that brought this talk to mind is one of these friends. Sister McCracken is one of the missionaries that has been serving in our ward for the last several months and has had a huge impact on my life. I had to say good bye last night as she is heading home. She shared a story called “The Flying Trapeze”, all about transitions and changes in life. The sentiments shared there, and directly from her, are feelings I had as I was preparing to move here. I had known for months that I had wanted to move here, I was blessed to bring a job with me when I came, but ultimately I had no idea what was in store for me when I arrived, or any time beyond that point. I had a dream before I moved about jumping off of one cliff to another one, and that was the best way I could describe what I was really feeling. It was scary to take that next step. It is scary to move into the unknown. But it must be done if we want to grow. I was lucky because I really wanted to be in Georgia (crazy!!), so looking back longingly to Utah wasn’t entirely the issue. Leaving Lori behind was TERRIBLY hard. I hated saying goodbye to friends that had become my family for two years. I didn’t know if I would ever have friends here in this place. People out West loved (and continue to love) to point out that my dating life would suffer in the long run, that professional opportunities wouldn’t exist, that overall this was a bad idea for me. Everyone tried to make me believe that leaving would be the worst thing I could do for myself. And while they weren’t entirely wrong on that whole dating thing, this place is incredible.
One of the elders last night told Sister McCracken to just jump in when she gets home, not to sit still and take time to adjust, or wish to return. I wish someone would have told me that. It took me almost nine months to finally jump in to my real life and establish myself the way I wanted. When I moved here I was asked what I wanted next in my life. The answer was simple…to settle down. That typically implies a marriage and family, and ultimately that is the goal, but it isn’t what I wanted necessarily. What I wanted, and needed, was to plant myself firmly. No longing for a past that I couldn’t have, no looking back and wondering “what could have been”. I needed to settle in MY life.
I thought the answer to settling down lied in getting my own place, but that isn’t it either. The answer is to look forward, to believe, and to be content. If I spend my time looking back, I can’t see what is coming. And what is coming is HUGE, it is GRAND, it is INCREDIBLE. I have NO idea what that is for me, but He does, and that’s all I need.
So as we each make our transitions, some are found in going, some in coming, and some in staying right here, we need to ensure that our eyes are focused in the right direction.